Specializing in a particular legal field has many benefits. It makes a lawyer efficient and dependable and gives him or her a competitive edge over more generalized competitors. That said, choosing a specialty can be difficult; law students should consider their passions, their expertise and future aspiration, kind of law school they attend or will attend and job opportunities before settling on any one particular field. In this post, I list a few common specializations.
Criminal law centers around individuals who violate any public law. As any serialized crime show would tell you, these proceedings usually involve players including but not limited to: government prosecution, the District Attorney, defense counsels, and those working in detention systems. This field is ideal for those who want to serve public good and work on behalf of those caught in the criminal justice system.
Admiralty law is one of the field’s oldest specialties. It primarily deals with maritime issues such as shipping, piracy, canals, insurance, navigation waters, ocean policy and employee rights while working at the sea. The laws binding seafaring commerce and conduct are distinct from those of the land. As such, a lawyer needs to know the maritime legislation of different countries. It has diverse work opportunities and is ideal for those who love water and traveling.
Intellectual Property and Patent Law
Intellectual property and patent law deal with enforcement and acquisition of copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents, and licensing. It covers exclusive rights to a registered innovation, business process and methods, products, artistic works, and ideas. If they plan to specialize in patent law, law students need to take a patent bar exam and must already hold an undergraduate degree in science or engineering. With constant changes in the economy and technology, such attorneys are continually in demand.
Healthcare and Environmental Law
Healthcare law handles the implementation, enforcement and craft of healthcare policies. It has vast opportunities, offering legal specialists the chance to interpret legislation concerning medical malpractices, bioethical policy and patient rights. It is vital for a healthcare attorney to undertake classes in health technology and privacy law. Environmental law tackles private and public actions that affect the environment. It involves different treaties, regulations, conventions, and statutes. It involves matters of public health, pollution, and natural resource management.
Being a specialist in this field requires one to be conversant with the legal system and how they impact the operations of a business. It covers all aspect of industrial and commerce such as formation and dissolution of a business, M&A, disputes between companies and individuals/corporations and compliance with state and federal laws.
While I won’t fully cover them here, other famous specializations include constitutional law, joint degree programs, and First Amendment law.
It’s common knowledge that law is an oversaturated job market. As it is, there are far more graduating law students than there are available entry-level positions. Well-educated and well-credentialed graduates often find themselves in the unenviable position of battling for recognition and employment. According to a 2015 article in the New York Times, just 60% of law school graduates from the class of 2014 had found jobs in the field ten months after leaving school. Law is a difficult field to break into; if you truly want to make a living by practicing it, you need to push yourself above the pack by developing key skills. If you don’t, you may miss out on career opportunities, fail to garner clients, and lose out on the salary you want. Here, I list the six skills that you should develop and hone as soon as you can.
The television shows have it wrong; lawyers spend far more time in the library than they do in glitzy boardrooms. The ability to analyze texts is a key skill of any legal professional. You will be reading a lot, and if you can’t pull out the important details and understand how to apply them, you will be far behind your competitors.
Attention to Detail
Law hinges on small details. When you take on a case, make sure that you understand it inside and out. You will need to research related laws down to the lettering, and be careful in your understanding of it. Legal decisions are by and large rooted in the interpretation of legal language, so knowing a key detail could make the difference between winning a case and watching to fall apart.
If you can consistently build a waterproof argument around your case, you will make a name for yourself as a reliable and thorough professional. In order for your case to make sense, it has be connected from beginning to end. Don’t leave gaps of logic or assume that your reader will come to your conclusions when you write a case. Be explicit, and lay out everything in as much detail as possible.
The income you draw in your position depends on your ability to win cases. The soundest case will fall flat without a decent delivery – and without the ability to persuade, anything you try to do will fall flat. Learn how to understand what motivates people and use this understanding to persuade them to your side of the argument.
People always expect lawyers to have great judgment. This is especially true for your clients. If you don’t have good judgment, you can’t expect them to want to follow you. Make sure to look at situations from all angles to develop this skill.
If you have trouble writing, now is the time to fix it. Writing is a critical part of your role as a lawyer. From drafting briefs to creating cases, using the written word will serve you well.
When it comes to being a lawyer, there are many challenges you will face. However, you can be better prepared for them by utilizing the skills above. Make them yours by studying and practicing them every day. Then, sit back and relax as your income and reputation increase more and more.
About Henry Vinson
Henry Vinson is a 10,000 hour commercial pilot with Single-Engine and Multi-Engine Airplane; Rotorcraft-Helicopter; Instrument-Airplane; Flight Instructor Airplane & Flight Instructor Helicopter ratings. Henry Vinson holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Airplane Owner and Pilot Association, American Marketing Association, American Communications Association, and Experimental Aircraft Association.
Henry Vinson was born in 1960 in South Williamson, Kentucky. He graduated from Williamson High School in 1979, and, after attending South West Virginia Community College, he enrolled in the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. In 1982, he was appointed the Coroner for Mingo County, West Virginia.
Four years later, he became a funeral director for W. W. Chambers Funeral Homein Washington, DC. After his stint at W. W. Chambers Funeral Home, he owned and operated the largest gay escort service ever uncovered in Washington, DC at the age of 26.
In 2007, Mr. Vinson received a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, and today he is a successful entrepreneur who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Following a successful career as a marketing and advertising consultant, Henry Vinson opted to return to school in 2014 to pursue a law degree. Vinson is currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor Program at William Howard Taft University, America’s oldest nationally accredited distance learning law school.